Alas, Bougereaou

I am really not the sort of person who should paint cute kids. I’m not. The house is not filled with Precious Moments figurines or those ones with the winged cats. I am kind to animals, but that doesn’t really count, since only right bastards aren’t. The closest I get to having an inspiring saying on the walls is a magnet featuring a grim-faced smiley that reads “Have A Day.” I have done enough hallucinogens to be legally insane in eight out of ten urban legends.

Every now and then somebody’s made the mistake of thinking that my art indicates a childlike innocence, a mistake only possible on the internet. Meeting me in the flesh for any length of time tends to disabuse people of this notion, not least because I tend to swear like a sailor. I asked James if I was Pollyannaish in any way, and he burst into raucous laughter. My own mother believes I was seperated from Squidward at birth.

And yet it was easy, this painting. It flowed. It was like there was a thing in my brain my whole life that aspired to paint cute kids with armadillos, a thing kept in a barred prison at the bottom of my skull, and one day, after years of painstakingly fashioning a key out of a spoon and a bent paperclip, it broke out, killed two guards, and went rampaging across the page.

An artist I greatly admire, for technique if not always subject, is Bougereaou. He was a heckuva painter–I should do skin tones a tenth so well!–but he had this thing about cherubs. It’s just this side of creepy, and sometimes it’s just that side over there. Sometimes it’s a lone cherub, and sometimes it’s like he just screamed “I’ll give you cherubs, you muthas!” and he buries the whole painting in naked winged babies. ( )

I have always been a little weirded out by his mad cherub thing, but suddenly, I wonder if the poor man was just screwed. Maybe he was really, really good at cherubs. Maybe they creeped him out a little, too, but there was just something at the bottom of his brain that, largely independant of him, was made to paint cherub-butts. For all I know, he may have been as hard-boiled as the hero of a noir detective story, but there it was, cherubs.

Oh, well. A moment of artistic flow is to be cherished, even if it weirds me out a bit in the process, I suppose. Will there be more cute children, probably with strange animals and root vegetables? I wouldn’t rule it out.

God help us all.

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